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22.12.04
Cornwall and Isles of Scilly outperform UK

Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly outperformed the UK average for wealth creation in 2002, according to Government figures released today (December 22).

While Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly is bottom of the league of the GVA per head UK index its growth from 2001 to 2002 is 5.9 per cent, well above the UK average of 5.4 per cent. And the new statistics show that Cornwall and the Isles of Scillies' wealth has grown by 50 per cent between 1995 and 2002, outperforming Devon.

These two-year-old statistics also confirm the long term nature of the Objective One Programme. And, because they only go up to the end of 2002, they do not reflect the huge successes this region has seen to date. These include the Objective One flagship project, Combined Universities Cornwall, which is set to raise GVA in coming years.

Now, at the end of 2004, the region is benefiting from an over 60 per cent drop in unemployment since the late 1990s. The CUC has opened, the main rail line between Probus and Burngullow has been dualled, flights at Newquay airport are expanding and work is to start soon on the A30 bottleneck at Goss Moor.

These improvements, to infrastructure and learning, will foster businesses and raise GVA further.

By the end of 2002, out of an Objective One pot of more than £300 million, £148.89 million had been committed to a total of 306 projects. But of that just £45.3 million had been spent.

Much of that was invested in training which will raise the GVA in the long term but would not have had any significant effect by that time. Many workspace projects had yet to be completed and others, such as the Tolvaddon Energy Park and Torpoint, had only recently opened. Therefore the businesses occupying them had yet to contribute to the economy.

Carleen Kelemen, Director of the Objective One Partnership, said: "The statistics showing the region's high rate of growth are good news since 2002, Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly have moved on even further and a great feeling of optimism has blossomed. Objective One is doing its job – encouraging investment in areas including infrastructure, knowledge and business and as more projects come to fruition the better things will get."

Since 2002, thousands of businesses have connected to high speed broadband internet via the actnow initiative, whose lead partners include the Objective One Programme, Cornwall County Council, Cornwall Enterprise and the South West RDA.

John Lobb, Leader of Cornwall County Council says: "A very encouraging pattern is emerging, with Cornwall outstripping the rest of the UK in terms of wealth and job creation. It whets the appetite for the next round of figures which will indicate the effectiveness of Cornwall's flagship projects like CUC, Peninsula Medical School and actnow broadband. And with dramatically improved road, rail and air connections in coming years there is every reason to feel confident that Cornwall's economy is on track for a spectacular recovery."

Ranulf Scarbrough, actnow programme manager, said: "At 31 Dec 2002, only 760 of Cornwall's 19,000 small businesses had connected to broadband and only 180 of these had been connected for more than three months - very little time in which to expect significant business impact or GVA improvement. Today, over 5000 small businesses have connected to broadband and are benefiting from advice and support from actnow to exploit broadband for business advantage. It is therefore no surprise that the actnow project has not impacted 2002 GVA figures but through 2003 and 2004 this is expected to change dramatically."

Business Link, which helps small and medium sized businesses and has received Objective One investment, is already boosting GVA.

Bob Dow, Chief Executive Business Link Devon & Cornwall, said: "Business Link Devon & Cornwall are the first, and to date only organisation in the county, who has started to measure the impact of their activity using GVA and we have been doing this since April 2003. On average, since that time, we have helped increase GVA by £94,500 with each company we are working with in Cornwall, and by £2,500 per employee, helping them to become more productive and compete more effectively. We strongly believe that our approach of providing high quality advice and guidance is the best route to increasing regional performance and are forecasting that we will help generate a further £32m of GVA with companies we are already intensively helping."

This is progress that we believe really matters to the people of Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly.

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Editor's notes:

 

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Clare Morgan
Media Relations Manager
Objective One Partnership Office
Castle House
Pydar Street
Truro TR1 2UD
Mobile: 07973 813647
Telephone: 01872 223439

cmorgan@cornwall.gov.uk

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